Eat Local Week 2009
Eat Local Week keeps Austin busy and full while supporting youth outreach
This is the third amazing year for Edible Austin Eat Local Week, a spectacular series of events that celebrate the bounty of local sustainably farmed foods in Central Texas. All the money raised by Eat Local Week goes to Urban Roots, an Austin youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and to increase access to healthy food for all Austinites. Unlike some other "restaurant week" events where only a fraction of the money raised goes to a selected nonprofit, 100% of the money raised by Eat Local Week goes to Urban Roots.
The first year, $7,000 was raised; last year, the events brought in $25,000. "In our first two years, when no one had heard of Urban Roots, the money raised by Edible Austin Eat Local Week enabled us to get off the ground!" says Russell Smith, executive director of YouthLaunch, the parent organization of Urban Roots. "It was literally our seed capital, the money we used to buy seeds. It is still a huge part of getting the word out about our program, and bringing in the resources that give Urban Roots stability."
Saturday, Dec. 5: Saturday at 10am is the kickoff event at the Austin Farmers' Market Downtown with a proclamation by the mayor and other special activities. Later in the day is one of the most popular events from previous years, the Urban Farms Bicycle Tour. This family-friendly tour visits Boggy Creek Farm, Zhi Tea, Rain Lily Farm, Hands of the Earth Farm, local school and community gardens, and more and offers a chance to win impressive prizes, including a fully outfitted cruiser bicycle. The Edible Austin Tea Festival at Zhi Tea (10am-2pm) is one of the stops. The first night of Eat Local Week features a 7pm screening at the Paramount Theatre of Fresh, a provocative and inspiring food film, followed by a Q&A session with the writer and director, Ana Sofia Joanes, along with Joel Salatin, writer, local foods spokesperson, and owner of Polyface farm. Tickets are $15, $25, and $100; the $100 tickets include a prescreening reception catered by top area chefs, featuring outstanding local products and spirits.
Sunday, Dec. 6: The Drink Local Coffee Festival at Owl Tree Roasting runs 11am-2pm, complete with a barista throwdown and the debut of Franklin BBQ. Sunday night is Drink Local Night, hosted by Tipsy Texans David Alan and Joe Eifler at the Palm Door from 6 to 9pm and featuring the 2nd Annual Drink Local Cocktail Contest. Last year's winner, Bobby Heugel, returns to judge this year's entries in the battle of the mixologists.
Monday, Dec. 7: Finn & Porter and the Cupcake Bar host a happy hour at the Hilton, 5-7pm. At 7pm, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will screen the popular movie Julie & Julia, and Alamo chefs Trish Eichelberger and John Bullington will prepare an exquisite dinner inspired by the film. Julie Powell (author of the memoir that inspired the movie) will give a Q&A session afterward in this sure-to-sell-out event.
Tuesday, Dec. 8: The Austin Museum of Art gets involved, offering a Gulf Coast Sampler from 6:30 to 8pm, featuring chef Jesse Griffiths and food historian Elizabeth Englehardt. And from 5 to 10pm, Whole Foods Market and Go Texan will offer 50-minute ice skating sessions for $10, with all the proceeds benefiting Urban Roots.
Wednesday, Dec. 9: Better Bites of Austin will host an Edible Local Holiday Gift Fair at City Hall from 4 to 8pm, where you can buy local food gifts, create your own holiday gift baskets, or bid on premade baskets.
Thursday, Dec. 10: Fine Food Art Gallery Night at the Wally Workman Gallery from 6 to 8pm.
Friday, Dec. 11: Whip In presents Local Brewers Happy Hour from 4 to 8pm, where $20 buys you a pint glass to sample and compare a variety of excellent local brews.
Saturday Dec. 12: The Media Celebrity Local Food Cook-off, the finale event, is 10am-noon at the Austin Farmers' Market Downtown, with Kate Weidaw (KXAN) and Bryan Beck (KGSR) squaring off in the kitchen.